Live!

my fourth year in review

This entire school year I had one goal; to live. To truly take advantage of all the experiences that I could and just get out there. This was kind of a fall out from my whole “turning 20” crisis where I just had no clue what I had achieved in 2 decades of living. Anyhow with this new quest for life outside my comfort zone I packed on a lot of activities that made my fourth year awesometastic. Here are my top 10 favorite memories.

10. Taking a course that had nothing to do with my major

I took a couple of these actually; Graphic novel, Anthropology of Youth Culture and for a little while I took Computational thinking (aka programming for the arts student). I truly valued this experience because it gave me a chance to breathe from all of the social justice thinking for a little while and gain fresh perspective.

9. Travel

Okay I didn’t do a whole lot of travelling but I did go to San Francisco and it was absolutely beeyoutiful! Wasn’t nearly as warm as I had hoped it would be but that was a great trip with a truly awesome tour guide (Shout out to Afrolems!).

San Fran_Begin

8. Network

This year, I feel like I put myself out there a bit more than I normally would. I went to networking events, signed myself up for responsibilities (may have overdone it on this one) and really tried to engage people out of my immediate circle. The pay-off? Amazing friends that I may never have made if I didn’t try and being inspired to do a little bit more.

7. Work

Praise Jesus I had a job in my fourth year. I was the mentorship assistant to the student life coordinator working in the Dean of Students office. Can you tell I love saying that? I don’t think I could have had a job that was better suited to me in my last year. They were always so understanding and eager to offer me opportunities that I may not have known about on my own. I already miss everyone there and I’m so grateful to have met them.

6. Singing in front of people

So in keeping with my whole pushing out of my comfort zone, I volunteered to sing a solo part in my choir (UTGC whoop whoop!!). Singing in front of people makes me pretty nervous so for the most part I just sing around my family and a few of my friends. I was definitely taking a bit of a leap with a solo. I had planned to sing it an octave higher than I did but when my mouth opened and my voice wouldn’t do what my brain told it to I just went with it and it all worked out! Or well so I think :p

UTGC_Begin

5. Getting featured in a school newspaper!!

Now this one had me all kinds of excited. I was asked to comment as President of the Nigerian Students Association on a Nigerian issue. That was one of the few moments where I felt responsible for my team and communicating a strong positive message to whoever read the article.

http://ryersonjournalism.ca/2015/01/28/what-makes-one-horrific-event-more-newsworthy-than-another/

4. Cooking for a crowd

Now as the daughter of 1qfoodplatter you would think that cooking for people is something I do on the regular and while I would like to agree with you, that is a LIE! I lived on residence for all four years of uni and I had a meal plan so the need to cook was very minimal. Anyhow when your student group is trying to maintain its finances, you’ll do things you weren’t sure you could. That is the very basic story of how I cooked for 30 people 0_0.

3. Getting an Award

I don’t think of myself as an overachieving student by any means. I think I was rather modest in my overall involvement and well if I didn’t feel like doing a reading I just didn’t do it (sorry Mama&Daddy). That being said, I was very pleasantly surprised to be awarded the UC Merit Award “for my contributions to student life”. Getting an award in my graduating year was a goal I set for myself so this was a real kicker

Enang Ukoh_UC Merit Award Recepient - Copy

2. Terracotta!!!

Oh of all the things I did this year, Terracotta was right up there on my scale of challenging! Just to clarify, Terracotta is the culture show presented by NSA UofT.  This year I directed the show. The tears, the hours, the stress but also the people in this show made this an unforgettable experience. I also made costumes for the show which was pretty fun!

Enang Ukoh Terracotta_Begin

1. Presidency

So many of the things I did this year and the people I met were a consequence of my presidency. I learned a lot about myself and I feel like I was better for this experience. Sometimes it felt like I took on way more than I could handle but time after time I received strength to do a little bit more. I wasn’t a perfect leader by any stretch and I’m still learning from some of the mistakes that I made. Through it all I’m very grateful to God for getting me through.

Enang Ukoh_Begin

In four years I made a lot of memories and I grew and changed every single year. Thank you UofT for my most challenging four years yet. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.

The trouble with perfect

cropped-photo-21.jpg

Hello, hello!

After months of essays, tests, meetings and the sort, third year is over. At the end of second year I decided to take stock and see what I had learned. I learned in first year that sometimes its okay to let go, in second year I learned that just because you let go of a plan doesn’t mean you have to let go of a dream. After third year I’ve learned that just because you’re used to something doesn’t mean you don’t need to work at it anymore. If anything I learned that the being good at something is simply an invitation to be better

Speaking to my sister last night, she told me something that I thought summed up my “discoveries” quite nicely; “life happens”. Its really important to have a plan and know where you want to be and where you’re heading at any point in time, but it is just as important to remember that just because you have a plan doesn’t mean that’s how things are going to go. Sometimes even the most perfect plans are ruined by the smallest, most mundane things and what do you do? You deal with it.

Often times we become so wrapped up in the perfection of our plans that we’re crushed when things don’t go as we hoped they would. In my experience, life “happening” is usually just the thing you need to help you find your way. Its kinda the way things tend to go; you never try you never know, you never fail, you never grow. (really wasn’t trying to rhyme there but hey!). Anyhow I’m grateful for another year with its new experiences and all the things I learned so far. I’m looking forward to my fourth year and all the novelties it promises to bring.

What are some of your most recent life discoveries?

Think Responsibly

Think Responsibility

Its the start of yet another semester, with its tests, papers and readings. At the risk of sounding cliche, I will say that I still remember my first year. I came into university with a strategy; read and regurgitate. Unfortunately university required a teeny bit more than that, it required me to understand and apply. This realization was fine of course until I took classes that I thought should require me to not just apply but create and then school and I reached an impasse. Don’t get me wrong I was very impressed with the new way I was learning. Never in my learning career had I been pushed to truly understand the subject matter in the way that I was being pushed and it felt amazing! (Yes I’m a nerd..deal). I guess that feeling made me greedy. Its like this, if all I ever knew was vanilla ice cream, I was fine with that but now that I’ve tried cookies and cream, its kind of made me wonder what the other possibilities are.

What framed this for me was a conversation I had with a few people not too long ago. the general consensus was that essays were a trap. You’re asked to say what you think “and as long as you defend it properly there’s no right or wrong answer”. The  truth however is that there is a right answer which is what was taught in class, then there’s the objection to the right answer which is a bit of a wild card cause your answers still have to line up to what the professor thinks the objection should be. The wrong answer in an essay is any opinion that veers too far off from the professors ideas, and while your thought process may not be wrong, it doesn’t conform so boo-hoo boo boo, you get a C for effort.

I’m not saying that this happens all the time but sometimes it feels like you have to give up expressing what you really think for an A (not that your A is guaranteed  anyhow); but you know what really grinds my gears? Its the classes that are supposed to be “liberal”. The ones that focus on social justice. They are great if you want to learn about the social issues that plague us everyday but the minute you try to talk about solutions, somebody throws you the vaguest possible term “activism”. Then you try to lift the veil on what activism really means because its all well and good to know the problem but where do we go from here? But you find nothing concrete, and when you even try to suggest that we need to think of new ways to implement social justice, they grunt and carry on. Nothing changes, we keep flying the pretentious flag.

You see the problem is that we need to evolve. University should be about much more than regurgitating and reapplying concepts the same way Marx, Kant or Foucault did, not that we should discard their works of course. University should be about creating; new ideas, new theories. Maybe some other person feels completely different but I require more from my classroom. If university intends to work me to the bone, I need more than grades, I need value.